Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Thrifted Things to Share

Part of the excitement of thrifting is finding things that you, or someone you care about, collect. I collect all three of the items shown here: vintage tins, handbags and hats. There is something about designs lithographed on tins that just grabs my attention and affection. This one has designs based on the illustration from the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden. I have seen the book a few times while thrifting and knew it to be a favourite of my maternal Grandmother. Edith Holden was much influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement and is a part of a long line of female illustrators that include Kate Greenaway, Beatrix Potter and Cicely Mary Baker. Unlike her commercial work, the diary was written and illustrated for her own personal satisfaction and she had no intention that it would ever be published. Could she have know what pleasure it would bring to future generations? Even though I have owned it for over twenty years, the decorating book based on her seasonal observations gets pulled off the shelf from time to time as it is not as dated as other such books from the same period. It is funny how clothing trends are already embracing the late eighties and early nineties as vintage looks to be repeated while most of the decor trends from the same period are now reviled! I definitely need to find the original Diary for my library in my thrifting forays and I would love to find some of the Noritake China.

This black suede handbag was made in the Republic of Ireland for the Simpson's department store chain most likely in the early sixties. Like Eaton's, Simpson's is no longer; both department stores had venerable histories in this country. The Bay, another iconic company in Canada, is no longer under Canadian ownership. Thrifting definitely inspires one to think about more than just the things one finds. This purse is in like new condition and its quality representative of the goods carried by Simpson's.

The bag has little brass feet and is just roomy enough for many of the extras that the modern woman carries that her vintage sisters would not have dreamed about. Mme. Dariaux says about suede: "No longer elegant for dressy women's shoes, but excellent for sports; black suede (or, better still, antelope) is smart in gloves or a dressy handbag with a jeweller's clasp; washable suede gloves, like the Kislav line, are practical but rather heavy." It is presently my go-to bag!
This hat is a charming little confection made in England out of rayon(labelled viscose) velvet. Anna, my sister in millinery, felt it to be very "eighties winter wedding" which worked very well for a double service choir day last weekend on one of this winter's coldest days. Pictured with the hat are three pieces of jewellery: the red clip earrings are unsigned, the china flower brooch is marked Staffordshire, and the rhinestones hoops are another pair of Sherman's. I think that I may be acquiring too many pieces of costume jewellery and I am working on a solution...stay posted.

My love of lithographed tin extends to trays as well as tea and biscuit tins. I know more than one person who might covet this chinoiserie tray by Worcester Ware. The condition is great and still has the label with care instructions on the back. It is not my only piece made by this company so I will need to share more in future posts. All of the items I am sharing this week are things that I collect and possibly have too many.

Of all of my collections, my Pyrex is the most difficult to store. Much of what I have, I use regularly but I keep acquiring more! Fortunately, 'pyrexia' (not the fever) seems to be infectious and my Mum has caught it from me. This square baker is from the Verde pattern. For Christmas, I sent her two of the Bake Serve Store Casseroles in Verde (link shows Butterfly Gold). Now that I have shared this dish with the blogosphere, I will wrap it up and send it to my Mum. To share more thrifty treasure go to Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday.

Monday, January 17, 2011


For me, part of the appeal of thirfting is rescuing useful or beautiful items from being forgotten or thrown away. I have many treasure but some of these "diamonds in the rough" are rougher than others. I like to call these "orphans" and I have found them in places other than thrift stores: One of our cats is from the humane society and quite a few pieces of furniture have been curbside finds. Also, many of my house plants have come to me as orphans; they are the marked down African violets or orchids that are not full of blooms and nobody else seems to want them. In the world of Pyrex collectors, red dishes from the early "primary sets" are much sought after. This little red fridgie has definitely seen better days with its lack of a lid and obvious dishwasher damage.

Priced at $1.99, I figure that it was worth taking a chance on this cutie. After washing it, I applied vegetable oil and let it sit for a few hours before giving it a little buff. Significant improvement, I would say and certainly a serviceable piece of Pyrex. I hope that the photos show the difference. While I have put away my overtly Christmas linen, I cannot bring myself to put away the wintery patterns such as snowflakes.

This little cream jug was also found in my latest thrifting foray. I have been collecting this type of "utility china" for a while now. It started with just one, but, of course, has grown. It is marked Royal Art Pottery and you can find similar lovelies on Kitschen Pink's Utility China flickr stream.

These earrings were also found on my weekend thrift mission. The box does not present them in an inviting way. They were an unclaimed auction item at the Salvation Army and I was able to purchase them for $10.00. That is more than I usually pay for costume jewellery at the thrift store but I was sure that I was getting a good deal. I did! They are signed Sherman. The overall design of the piece is what usually catches my eye and then I consider its condition. Now that I have a large number of pieces I am starting to consider resale value and whether a piece is signed can effect its value.

These are the other finds of the weekend: the rhinestone earrings and cameo brooch are signed Coro, the round earrings are Monet and the lovebirds brooch is signed Gerry. Sorry that the contrast in the photo is not good enough to show the detail of jewellery but I really wanted to share the cute mitts that I also found last weekend.

Enjoy all the other thrifty finds at Apron Thrift Girl's Thrift Share Monday

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Back at Last

It has been almost a year since my last post. I do hope that I can be more regular in my updates this year; One of my resolutions, really! Things are much the same, with family life dominated by activity. Music and dance fill the days while I try to accomplish the essential domestic activities of food preparation and homekeeping. I still squeeze creative pursuits and treasure hunting (thrifting. mostly) whenever the opportunity presents itself, but I have missed sharing it with the world.
A recent find are these embroidered leather gloves, which will be perfect for warmer weather. Gloves seem to make a bit of a comeback in fashion every few years. There were some beautiful winter ones available last winter, as well as this season. In the climate in which I live, gloves are absolutely essential for almost half of the year. I believe it is a good policy to make what is necessary an asset. Of course, these gloves are not winter gloves but come from a time when a lady did not leave her home without hat and gloves. I will find use for these gloves, as even in late Spring, here in Ottawa, we may have days that vary widely in temperature, varying from early morning frosts to afternoon temperatures exceeding 20 degrees Celsius.

The practise of wearing gloves comes pretty naturally to me: I wear them for protection from the elements, while in the garden, while washing the dishes, etc. and, as can be seen in this photo, it is a life-long habit. (More about this photo can be found here.)In my favourite style bible, Elegance, Mme. Dariaux states "Glove etiquette is not at all as complicated as many woman believe. In general, gloves should always be worn on the street but never indoors, except at the theatre, at a formal reception, or a ball. They should always be removed when eating, even if it is no more than a cocktail canape. But a lady never takes off her gloves in order to shake hands (unless, of course, they are very soiled gardening or riding gloves) and furthermore, she never needs to apologize for keeping them on." This last sentence, I hope applies to me, when I keep my gloves on when going into stores, where and when I might have cold hands, or when I wish to avoid touching door knobs and shopping carts (I am not a germophob but a certain amount of caution seems sensible). More information on wearing gloves can be found on my favourite vintage fashion blog, Couture Allure's Friday Charm School and another post in the same series of posts.

When I found these gloves, I also purchased this English JAJ Pyrex casserole. This is a pattern that I have never seen and will need to do some research to date it; I am thinking late 1960's. I hope to join the Pyrex Collective and benefit by all their enthusiasm and knowledge. I could spend hours searching through the Pyrex Love Flickr stream to see if others have posted pictures of the same pattern. This piece is quite large and will be perfect for casseroles and storing leftovers. With all the activity in this household, meal planning has included planning for leftovers(or making an extra meal for another day). The colourful vintage Pyrex, as other Pyrexics know, brings much pleasure to the everyday activities of preparing, serving and storing food.
I love how both vintage finds can so easily slip back into use in our modern world.